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Incumbent Roger Hernandez battles David Hall for Chubbuck council seat 2

East Idaho Elects

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CHUBBUCK — Roger Hernandez claimed seat No. 2 on the Chubbuck City Council four years ago.

In his bid for re-election, Hernandez is facing challenger David Hall. sent both candidates the same eight questions. To learn more about the candidates, read their responses below. Candidates were asked to keep their answers to 250 words or less for each question and some responses were edited in order to abide by this requirement.

Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.

HERNANDEZ: I was born in Mexico, immigrated to the United States and grew up in Aberdeen. I moved to Chubbuck 35 years ago. After high school, I enlisted in the Idaho Army National Guard, serving both on a part time but mostly active-duty basis.

I remained in Chubbuck and have made this city my home. I have been married to my lovely bride, Geri, for twenty-one years. Together we have raised three awesome children. I also have four grandchildren and two dogs.

During my military career, I assisted with the Hurricane Katrina restoration and was deployed to Iraq, where I proudly served my country. I retired in 2013, after a successful, decorated career. I earned a Bachelors Degree in Health and Sports Science and am currently working on a second Bachelors Degree in Mathematics. I have been a substitute teacher but I enjoy devoting most of my time to the local community, through volunteer projects and activities.

I own and run a fitness gym in Chubbuck and have created a non-profit organization that specializes in helping recovering addicts, adults and children in need and special needs athletes.

I am currently a (Chubbuck) Council Member and serve as a liaison to the Pocatello/Chubbuck Seniors Activity Center. I am the Chairman for the Bannock Transportation and Planning Organization and am on the citizens advisory board for the INL. I also enjoy mentoring youths and coaching little league basketball. My hobbies include reading, Japanese woodworking, gardening, traveling with my wife and hiking with my dogs.

HALL: I am Dave Hall; I am running for Chubbuck City Council Seat #2. I bring a strong resume, a new skill set with relevant experiences and talents to Keep Chubbuck Moving Forward.

I have been married to my wife, Telena, for 17 years and have five children. We have lived in Chubbuck over 15 years. For the last 10 years Telena, a lifelong resident of Chubbuck, has run a pre-k school from our home in addition to teaching Kindergarten in SD25 here in Chubbuck. I graduated from Idaho State University in 2010 with a BA in History which has helped me to learn from the past while planning for the future.

I am currently employed as the General Manager of Culligan Water, a local 4th generation, family owed business. Previous to this management role, I worked over 10 years in the Facilities Department at Idaho Central Credit Union. As the Energy Manger for the credit union I found and implemented ways to be more efficient in operations and expenditures. I was also responsible for the maintenance of 17 locations across the eastern half of the state with a combined asset value of well over $50 million dollars. I worked on multiple projects with budgets of millions of dollars.

I am running for City Council because I truly believe the best place to be involved and make a difference is on the local level, in our neighborhoods and cities. This is how I can uphold and promote good sound principles of government.

What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?

HERNANDEZ: I can’t really say specifically what are my proudest accomplishments. I have always been part of some pretty great things. I’ve enjoyed a rewarding, successful career and raised my children become decent human beings through parenting and education. I’ve been a listening ear to anyone who just wanted to talk to someone, and I have coached hundreds of boys and girls in various sports as well as high school and college athletes. It’s a proud moment knowing that you helped a young man do a correct layup in a basketball game.

Getting my degree later in life, being part of several leadership teams and bringing my soldiers home safely from Iraq was a challenging but rewarding accomplishment. Creating a successful youth mentoring program meant a lot to me as well. I hopefully have made a lifelong impact that will affect them positively in the future. I have also built many good relationships and friendships with both the city and the surrounding communities.

HALL: My proudest accomplishment for sure is the life my wife and I have created in Chubbuck. Starting with nothing when we were married we have worked hard and applied ourselves in all that we have done. Raising five children has taught us many lessons and brought us some of the greatest memories in life. My wife and I are living the American Dream. I want to Keep Chubbuck Moving Forward so others have a great place to make and live their dream.

One highlight in my career was the honor of being recognized at ICCU for the service story of the year. Stories across the state were submitted. Unknown to me, my story was submitted. While working one day making an exterior assessment of one of the buildings I managed, an older gentleman was on the property. It became evident he was lost and mostly blind. I drove him to his apartment complex. This man was visibly relieved to be home and be reunited with his “singing dog.”

I knew I was placed in this man’s path to help him get home. I did not act for recognition of any kind, I acted to help my fellow man. It was difficult to be acknowledged for this simple act but it was also a blessing to share my experience of how great simple acts of kindness can be in stranger’s lives. We all can make a huge difference in our communities and others lives by simply acting with kindness.

What are the greatest challenges facing your community?

HERNANDEZ: Right now, the greatest challenge the City of Chubbuck faces is growth and all of the issues attached to it. With growth comes traffic increases, noise, building and planning for new infrastructure, maintaining current and replacing deteriorating infrastructure, providing adequate, safe water and proper access to sewage, excellent protective services such as fire and police and proper use of available land both new and existing. These things cost money and we have to be careful and conservative with our budgets, to keep taxes as low as possible and making cuts where necessary. Transparency and information provided to the public is a priority. With careful, constant proper planning for near, middle and distant goals, we can properly manage these issues as they arise.

Another challenge is keeping our community safe and beautiful. Properly trained law enforcement and neighborhood watch programs are important to keep our areas safe, clean and enjoyable. Fortunately, Chubbuck has phenomenal, trained personnel and leadership, who are constantly improving the way we live, do business and find creative ways to fund our city, oftentimes with little or no financial impact.

HALL: Three of the biggest challenges our community faces are the rising financial burden on the tax payers, growth and an informed citizenry.

1) Tax dollars collected and spent come from property owners. As costs rise across the board, more and more households are feeling the squeeze in their pocket books. Wise financial management by the city and its departments are critical to control the rising costs.

2) Growth is good for our community; planned growth is great for our community. I support planned growth. Planning for future infrastructure, maintenance, amenities and resources, such as water, is critical to set up any community for great growth in the future. New businesses wanting to establish themselves in a city want to see the city’s future plan, availability of resources and infrastructure. Prior proper planning will set up the City of Chubbuck for great growth.

3) It is critical for citizens of any community to understand the plans and workings of the city. Many times the water does not get to the end of the rows. Studies may be completed to help guide city officials to make certain decisions for future growth but most times the purposes and reasons for increases and adjustments in city services to pay for future planning does not make it to the citizenry who are paying those costs.

How is your experience better suited to dealing with these unique challenges than you competitor?

HERNANDEZ: I have an entire lifetime of experience that my opponent does not. Being a Chubbuck Council Member these past four years have been an incredible and informative experience. I work well with the mayor and council. Our interaction has made for successful leadership and we’ve accomplished many positive things. I have built good relationships within the departments in the city, relationships of both trust and friendship. I have taken the time to build relationships outside the community as well, including the city of Pocatello, Bannock county leaders and School Board.

I served and led in the Idaho Army National Guard for almost 30 years. My military experience has been valuable, as I have applied techniques, knowledge and education over those years to my current position. During that time, I researched, prepared and managed large budgets. I was the financial auditor for multi-million-dollar budgets for other locations as well. I have experience with personnel issues, restructuring, creating and amending procedure and building communication between both small and large departments. My ability to be open and talk to anyone has been a positive attribute. I enjoy conversations with citizens, answering questions, listening to their concerns and finding an outcome that will work. Listening and open communication is important to me. My commitment of service to the area has given me a great picture of what our citizens likes are as well as any concerns. I will continue to apply my knowledge and help keep Chubbuck the wonderful place that I call home.

HALL: As a Chubbuck resident for over 15 years, my wife as a small business owner and a General Manager of a local family-owned business we have wide perspective of the tax burden placed on residents and businesses. Purposeful, proper, planning will help guide city growth. This growth will increase the (residential and commercial) tax base to help shoulder the tax burden. I fully support planning for the future and provide great perspective.

Growth needs to be planned for. I can help leverage relationships with the Chubbuck Development Authority, and the local chamber of commerce, of which I am an active member. I have also been an Ambassador for Chubbuck in my Keep Chubbuck campaign, positively promoting our city and what it has to offer its citizens. As you drive around Chubbuck there are many empty lots and underutilized areas of the city. Certainly these areas are great candidates for growth and building. Even better is that these areas already have paid for infrastructure in place to service those areas. I strongly encourage growth in these infill areas.

Getting information into the hands of the citizens is important. I can be an avenue to share this information. Sharing city studies with the citizens will help them understand why the city is moving in a certain direction or even increasing fees. This gets the water to the end of the row. Helping people to understand the why and the data supporting the why will keep an informed citizenry.

How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?

HERNANDEZ: As a Council Member, my personal responsibility is to represent the interests and views of my constituents through open communication, listening, keeping an open mind and applying the knowledge that I have to make the right decisions that are of the most benefit to our city. I feel, the best way to represent those views is by researching the issues, seeking out input from the citizens of Chubbuck as well as seeking advice from those professionals that have a specific knowledge of a particular issue or area. I won’t have the answer to every question right away, so it is very important for me to be dedicated and humble in regards to obtaining proper, accurate facts, valuable input involving the situation that comes up and making the best decision using those facts and opinions.

Regardless of political views, it’s all about taking care of people and their interests. Of course, we will have differing approaches and priorities to those needs, so it’s important to look for and try to find the best win-win solution. It’s not always easy to find a solution that will make all sides happy but I will do my best to make the best decision possible.

HALL: Making correct judgment decisions supersede any political view. Most of a city councilperson’s role is to act as the legislative branch of the city government. Most of these decisions look at information and ensure what is being presented aligns with current city code. I will look at the evidence presented and make an ethical vote aligning with codes and statues of the city.

At a Chubbuck City Council meeting I have supported and spoke in favor of commercial growth adjacent to my own backyard, recognizing the rights of the property owner to build and develop their property in accordance with city code.

I have made and will make myself available to any citizen and listen to understand their views and concerns on any city issue. I will represent 100% of the population in Chubbuck and will Act with Integrity in representing them.

What are your views regarding the role of the media in covering your city? How can you best work with local reporters to ensure coverage of the issues?

HERNANDEZ: I believe that the role of media is to inform, communicate, present all the facts, in an unbiased, impartial manner as possible. They are a great part of any community and I know many people from the local media. We’ve all seen the positives and negatives of national media but I feel that we are fortunate to have the people that we do, working hard in our local area. It is crucial for them to be fair, involved, getting people accurate information, allowing them to then make their own decisions and opinions with that information. Using various forms of media is equally important as people gain information from many different sources such as television, newspaper and social media.

In my opinion, it’s crucial to contact the media when a community issue or event arises that would be of interest to the citizens. Having an open-door policy and encourage open communications with local reporters is essential in putting out the information to our constituents and building trust and transparency with everyone.

HALL: The media can play a great role in reporting on the activities of the city government. Truthful reporting can be a great resource for each citizen to be able to know what is happening in the city. Local reporters can be informed of public city meetings and events in which they can attend and then report on the facts of the event. With the same resolve to be available to every citizen I will make myself available to reporters who want to understand the happenings in the city. As an Ambassador of Chubbuck it is my responsibility to promote the City of Chubbuck.

What measures, if any, do you believe your city should implement amid continued COVID-19 concerns?

HERNANDEZ: I believe the measures and information that are in place are sufficient to let people make an informed decision on their own. We have a small community and implementing any mandate makes it a very personal issue and it’s a tough one. There are many people in many different situations and that decision should be left up to each person to take whatever precautions they feel necessary to feel safe and secure. As better information comes up, future situations can be explored.

HALL: The city can certainly recommend that health and safety measures be followed. Mandating whose employment is essential and whose is not essential is not a city’s right to mandate. Each employee’s job is essential for that person and their family. Allowing citizens to exercise the greatest amount of freedom, in any situation, is the best policy. My policy is to support and promote good, sound principles of government and let people act and be free.

If you received a multimillion dollar grant to use for the city in any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

HERNANDEZ: First of all, the city council members normally do not deal with or decide where and when grants are implemented. In fact, grants are a rarity and are hard to obtain, especially in a smaller city. The mayor is usually the first one to decide and manage such funds. As a council member, I can express ideas and opinions to the mayor on using the grant towards the needs and wants of the city if he wants me to. Since the Mayor is the one that runs the city, he would then decide what to do and possibly send it to the council members to vote. As the mayor, he would be the deciding voice in this matter.

With that being said, depending on the size of the grant and if I had any input, I would look at addressing the immediate needs of the city i.e., streets, curbs, water quality or any other infrastructure that needed the immediate attention of the city. Then after that, I would look at other projects that would best serve the city and its citizens.

HALL: First, the burden on the tax payers would be reduced by lowering the tax levy. Second, I would consider retiring debt obligations that the city has. Then I would put some of the grant money toward projects that are planned to be completed which are causing water, sewer and garbage rates to increase over the next several years also alleviating the burden on the citizens.